A Winter’s Tail II

17Jun14

winters tale 2

When this short first appeared there was a lot of interest about what happened next. So here is another episode.

The wind blew hard and showed no signs of stopping. Even now the it fell in drifts across their path and the small sled began to falter. Worse still the wolves were howling all about them and Sofia noticed that even Ivan had begun to look apprehensive.

“How much further?” she asked the great bear-like woodsman, her voice now firm as if she were commanding a servant.

Ivan frowned and studied the trees ahead. He had no time now for her questions or demands.

“We will have to release the pony to fend for itself,” he said absently dropping into the knee-deep crunching snow.

“But…” she began a protest but the sound of wolves and a glance at the bundle of rods secured to the back of the sled held her.

He must know what he was doing she reasoned, for the first time realising the danger. But how would she get home, she wondered? A question that quickly faded in the moment, after all she was a princess and something would be arranged for her convenience no doubt.

Once free of the traces, the pony was surprisingly deft and danced away through the trees to the sound of wolves singing.

“Come on,” he barked, striding out now.

But where the snow attained his knees, on the petite Sofia Molotov it ranged to her tiny waist and she was wading as if through a raging sea to make bitter groans of frustration as she lunged forlornly forwards like a woman drowning.

Ivan glanced back, knowing fear then. He might just escape, maybe, but the girl…? He took another stride forwards.

“Please,” she wailed, her breathing harsh.

Ivan stopped and cursed God for sending him such trouble. If I do not freeze I will hang, he thought. The whirling around, he reached the girl at a bound and scooped her up into his great paws, hefting her easily.

The wolves were close now, closer than the storm and his humble hut was so very far away. Come near me beasts and I will… he thought of his axe and smashing skulls, but the girl was an armful and she hugged into him like a shivering kitten. This was no time for the hunter in him to take the lead, he realised so he fled, the precious bundle cradled to his chest. The race was on.

*

The wolves must have found some slower game for their voices became more distant until they ended altogether. The storm too had not materialised so that Ivan now regretted cutting lose the pony. It would be a long hard walk now and perilous. He listened hard. The only sounds now were the crunch of his boots in the crisp snow and the gentle sigh of snowflakes as they fell among the trees.

The girl was sleeping or if not lay prone and silent with exhaustion in his arms. That was to the good as far as the woodsman was concerned, on her feet she would only slow him down. Although his hut was now only a short way distant at the end of the wooded valley, the track was lost under the blanket of white and the leaf-shorn columns of sliver white birch trees on either side. But even as night fell the forest seemed to glow in the twilight and he was certain he would gain home.

“Where are we?” Sofia mumbled her sapphire eyes fluttering up at him under the tumble of her raven hair. Her tone was again commanding as if expecting an instant reply.

Ivan snorted derisively, but he had a grudging admiration for her ability to see the world as her playground even in adversity. He might not have answered her but one more step took him to the rise and the gentle drop to the brook that led to his house.

“We are home,” he rumbled like a contented bear.

“Castle Molotov?” she asked hopefully.

“Ha,” he roared, more bear-like than ever now. “Castle Ivanov more like,” he laughed.

Sofia remembered now and wriggled like a cat in a sack. “Put me down,” she said irritably.

Obeying instantly, Ivan dropped her unceremoniously into the snow so that she fell on her bottom with a groan, the impact reminding her of the price of crossing the bear-sized woodsman.

*

Sofia awoke with a sour taste in her mouth. She seemed to be stuffed between two layers of skins that smelled of musty damp dank leather. There was also a smell of wood smoke and an acrid scent of unidentified meat cooking.

She opened one eye to could see through a curtain of ragged fur that she was in small room with one small window. The pale light was clean, which was more than she could say of the rest of the hut.

From the other side of a rough planking door she could hear someone clanking around moving iron pots or perhaps pewter platters and rolled from the crude bed of bear skins she had been sandwiched between.

Through the window she could see nothing but an expanse of whiteness, only broken by the faint grey trunks of winter trees in what was halfway to being a blizzard. Her heart sank. The prospect of an early return home was receding fast, not that she had been hopeful since the loss of the horse-sled anyway.

She found Ivan crouching over a small fire and spooning a thick brown soup into wooden bowls. He grunted when he saw her and nodded to a chair and table in the corner.

“From now on you will do this,” he told her, “After fetching wood for the fire first, naturally. But only if the weather permits.”

Sofia wrinkled up her nose and glanced at the door. Not really listening to his peasant chatter.

He followed the direction of her gaze and frowned.

“Today the weather does not permit and you are not to go outside. Ten paces from the door you would be lost and even I could not find you,” he said. “I will tell you when it is safe and how far you should go.”

“I need a bath,” she announced as if he hadn’t spoken.

Beneath his dark ragged beard he seemed to consider this. “You Molotov’s are hardy then,” he said, “I rarely bathe in winter.” Then he shrugged. “But when the weather let’s up I will show you the pool.”

“The pool,” she spat at him. “No, I need a bath, a decent hot bath you fool. Have someone fetch hot water.”

Ivan laughed, but there was a hint of pity in his eyes and he turned back to serve up the soup.

“Did you hear me?” she snapped imperiously.

“Only a deaf man could not,” he chuckled, “But did you hear me? There is no bath and no one to fetch water. Heating water takes too much wood anyway. When the weather is calmer, there is a pool. You may bather there. Not before.”

Sofia rounded on the door and considered her exit.

“Sit and eat while it is hot,” he said.

The diminutive noblewoman made up her mind and made a stride for the door. It took her a moment to work the heavy latch and haul back the leather curtain but she managed somehow. Then the door was open.

The blast of cold wet air sent her staggering back and for a second she was blind. Then bravely steeling herself she lunged forward and out into the storm. It seemed to take an age to take five paces and she was about to take another when a strong hardness enveloped her and swept her from her feet. A moment later she was back in the hut where Ivan Ivanov dropped her heavily into a chair.

“Now eat,” he commanded.

Sofia gaped for a moment and then folded her arms defiantly and offered him her best pout.

Ivan grabbed her arm and forced a wooden spoon into her clenched fist and repeated the command, “Eat.”

“I want to go home,” she whined.

Ivan closed his eyes and muttered something and then pointed at the door.

“Did you not see the storm? We are not going anywhere for days. After that the roads will be blocked until spring,” he told her.

“I want to go home. I will pay you gold,” she said with a glare.

He scooped up some soup from his own bowl and pressed it to her mouth.

“Eat.”

She sipped reluctantly and then more eagerly until brushing aside his arm she plunged her own spoon into the spicy sludge and devoured it. A few days before she would have thought the broth crude and disgusting; but now she wondered if she had ever tasted anything better.

*

They had been cooped up for days and for most of that time Sofia had huddled at one end of the larger of the hut’s two rooms scowling belligerently at Ivan who sat by the fire shaping something from a length of firewood with a large knife.

Her initial hunger now sated, the turgid broth and dried bread that had provided their daily fare had begun to pall somewhat and the lack of washing facilities had left Sofia itchy and clammy under her hastily selected clothes.

In the beginning she had assumed her father’s men would come for her. But Ivan had explained that no one could move far or very fast while the weather raged through the forest and by the time it did abate then all tracks would be erased. This, he said, was just as well as any trail could just as easily lead Molotov enemies such as the Kelch or Kern to his door and they were a lot closer than Sofia’s family.

“I have had enough of this,” Sofia moaned, “The storm doesn’t seem half so bad now. Look it has even almost stopped snowing. I am going to see if I can…”

Ivan looked up with a glare. “You will do nothing,” he said sharply. “The storm is just in a lull. It happens. Any moment it could close in and if you are even a hundred yards from the house you will never find it again.”

“Look,” she said despairingly, “The snow has stopped.”

Without waiting she lurched to her feet and made a break for the door. This time she got halfway to the trees before the depth of the drifts slowed her. The rolls of snow were dry enough, but the cold chilled her deeply and within a moment she was panting hard as she had to all but crawl over ridge after ridge of close piled flakes. It was hopeless and even if it hadn’t been, even as she stood gasping for breath she could hear the faint dull crunch as snowdrops lightly touched down among the trees.

She was thigh deep and utterly unable to go forwards when she turned back. That’s when she saw Ivan standing at the door to the small hut regarding her as one might a lame horse or a drowned dog. Suddenly the great bear of a man looked even larger than usual and she felt nervous.

“You will have reason enough to go out into the forest before long. But not until I send you,” he growled. “You remember the switches I had you cut?”

She did all too well and gulped. Luckily they had been abandoned with her sled, but the previous indignity still burned in her brain. Not where it had burned at the time.

“Now come back inside,” he ordered, “We have things to ‘discuss.’”

“If you think…” she sneered. She looked again at the forest, although the snowfall was hard now.

But Ivan had no more patience and in three great strides he crossed the space between them and lifted her from her feet. This time he cradled her not like a kitten but as a sack of grain and hefted face down across his shoulder as he returned to the house.

“You beast, you oaf, you offal swallower, you God cursed pig-fucker,” she raged.

Ignoring her curses Ivan closed the door behind them and sat on his stool by the hearth. Then dropping her still face down in his lap he began to strip away her breeches until they bunched at her ankles.

“N-n-no noo wait,” she spluttered, her hands making a futile grab for her clothes before they were torn down and from her grasp.

Her mind raced with mortified confusion as she found herself wide-eyed and kicking across his lap with her prominent bare white bottom mooning up at him.

“You cannot tell me you were not warned,” he sighed.

“You disgusting peasant, this is an outrage,” she shrieked, “I am the daughter of Prince Molotov, I am…”

His great paddle-like paw fell from a great height and robbed her of breath. For a moment she had an image of sitting suddenly upon a griddle iron but she had no time to dwell on it. The reality was far worse. His hand rose and fell six or seven times in as many seconds and it took it that long to find the wind to yell. She couldn’t even buck and claw as she might, so hard was his grip on her. Between his mighty left arm and his rock-like thighs she was pinned and helpless as he spanked every ounce of resistance from her doll-like body.

“Disgusting peasant am I?” he bellowed, his true anger still in check, “Before the likes of the Kern and Kelch came, my people were dvorstan and free, even the kulaks looked up to us.” He spat the word kulak as if expelling a fishbone. “You Molotov’s are no better and you my little brat are scarce even worthy of that name with your insults and reckless foolishness.”

“You bastard,” she screamed back, her voice now strained, “You are less than a pig-fucking hound.”

He admired her strength and courage; if she ever grew out of her spoiled childishness she would make some nobleman a good wife someday. But not this day, this day and for the days that followed he needed her obedience if they were to survive the winter. Although her bottom was already a shock of red with a mass of tight pre-blister goosebumps he continued the spanking with a will.

“I am no bastard,” he said firmly, “My father was Ivan Ivanov son of Ivan Ilyich right hand of the…” his words were lost to her now, a meaningless parade of indignation that more than matched her own.

Now a thousand red hot needles clawed and scratched at her bottom and there was nothing she could do about it but endure. But she couldn’t endure it and from somewhere came a sob.

“…as for pig-fucking,” he continued, “A young lady like you should not know such words and I will not hear them pass your mouth again.”

He didn’t point out that he didn’t even own a pig.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she wailed.

Ivan looked down at her bottom; it was capped with two dark red ovals set against the skin as white as the snow without. His manhood stirred at the sight and he began to doubt his motives for continuing.

“You will obey?” he said sharply.

His hand was poised in mid-air ready to recommence while she trembled beneath him as she strained not bawl like a child. Sensing he waited, she finally nodded. He answered this with an emphatic one of his own and set her on her feet.

She stood dejectedly before him with tear-pooled eyes that would not meet his. Her hands fluttered in front of her small tight triangle of fur; more than conscious of his searching gaze. Almost worse, her bottom behind sizzled and throbbed like two coals from her father’s fire and she was torn between soothing them with her fingers and hiding what he should not see.

Ivan was pleased that she did not move to pull up her breeches, it showed that she was learning, but all the same he was hard now and wished he could permit it. After all, this girl was not for him.

“May I…?” she sniffed.

Seeing her sad puppy eyes Ivan nearly relented but he knew she had not yet surrendered or atoned for her behaviour. In fact had he still the rods he had made her gather she would feel them now.

“No,” he growled, every inch a bear again. “You will stand and face the wall next to the fire until I permit you to go to bed.”

Sofia gaped in astonishment, a bitter protest on the tip of her tongue, but he warned her with his eyes and she stole a rub of her bottom. Even then she did not move until he pointed. Red faced and fuming she stumbled across the room with her breeches at her shins until she reached the rough-planked wall. Mercifully her linen shift draped low enough to cover her exposed behind, but she had shame enough.

“Your hands will go on your head,” he pronounced.

It was cruel, but he had a point to make and he would afford her no veil for her dignity or pride.

Sofia wheeled on him to protest, but one look at his face made her falter and sent her back. Then after a pause he heard a slow drawing of breath. Then at a creeping pace she raised both arms to put her hands on her head, an act that lifted the hem of her shift to expose her bare bottom to his view.

“Bastard,” she hissed under her breath.

“What was that?” he asked sharply.

“Nothing,” she wailed, fear surging within her.

“I thought not,” he chuckled, “All the same you can stay there for an hour.”

Continued



5 Responses to “A Winter’s Tail II”

  1. 1 paul1510

    Damian.
    Ivan, such a hard man. 😉
    Paul.

  2. 3 Kris

    I have been away on vacation and return to find this lovely sequel! I know I do not comment often but I am prompted to considering that summer has left this welcome tale bereft of the comments it deserves. I would love to see her coming to grips with her situation next (while still causing trouble, of course! ) and perhaps falling a bit for her captor/savior. I think he may be hard pressed *eyebrow wag* to ignore her charms if he witnesses her determination and strength being put to better uses. Such as cleaning the cabin and improving the stew, perhaps? I enjoy this princess in the pigpen story and believe it has loads of potential. Here’s hoping this won’t be the last installment simply because it hasn’t gotten the attention the last bit of it did. Thanks for another good read… as always!

    • 4 DJ

      I suppose I will have to finish it some time now. 😉

      Welcome Kris

  3. 5 Jon

    With most good fiction one of the pleasures is imagining the looks of the characters. I am happy to let my imagination run with the supplied picture of the “princess.” Just think, if this is what she looks like before her plunge into the pond in the next chapter …. Oh, my!


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